We all learn by imitation. If we try to sell what we imitate as our own, we'll get sued. But while we're still practising and finding our own unique way, we need role models. I'm considering starting a podcast, to explore through interviews and features where modern seekers are going now that they're no longer going to church. I think I've found my mentors.
A few months ago I was sent a link to a podcast by two guys I'd never heard of. Rhett & Link run a YouTube empire that includes two daily morning shows, a weekly video podcast, a weekly vlog, a cooking channel, a merchandizing platform and a virtual community with over 16.2 million followers. They're bigger than most mainstream TV networks.
The reason I was sent the link was because, on their weekly podcast, called Ear Biscuits, Rhett and Link were talking about their "lost years" as evangelical Christians in the American South. While their daily morning shows, Good Mythical Morning and Mythical More, are pure kitsch--eating contests and screwball competitions--their podcasts are just two Gen-Xers, and life-long friends, talking honestly with one another about things that matter to them.
Rhett and Link feel familiar, like guys you might have grown up with. They've found a particular brand of silliness--puerile but not offensive--that cuts both deep and wide with a younger population who don't regard cynicism as the only option for growing up. But with their confessional podcasts, we see another reason Rhett and Link are so popular. They're struggling with what faith means in the modern world, and they're willing to talk about it openly.
I'm totally hooked. Yes, they're human. Rhett can be grumpy. Link can be persnickety. Their jabs at each other can make me cringe. But somehow, in their willingness to be who they are before a gargantuan audience, they reflect our own humanity back to us. We're all imperfect. Yet, we can laugh together, and cry, and feel joined in our humanity, and elevated too.
As I familiarize myself with the world of YouTube channels and video podcasts and mass marketing, I want to be like Rhett and Link. I'm not thinking of their level of success. That's just daunting, and this isn't a career move anyway. I just want to model my efforts after theirs. Something human, something positive (they call their particular ethos "positivity"), something both insightful and uplifting. Spare me the game show hijinks--I don't need to see them spewing really bad taste combinations out of their mouths--but gimme some of their mojo. The world needs more of it.